College for America Blog

Kris Simmons [student case study]


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Posted In: Case Studies, Students

Apr • 20 • 2014

“…I got a job at our main office as an administrative assistant, which required an associate’s degree. I got a raise and more hours per week, so my income has gone up quite a bit.”

Kris Simmons, an administrative assistant for the Moore Center in Manchester, NH, has worn many hats in her 48 years. Mother. Airline reservationist. Ticket agent. Life insurance customer service representative. As life sped along, she never got around to earning a college degree. That all changed in 2013, when she completed her associate’s degree from College for America at Southern New Hampshire University in just eight months, increasing her earning potential and even ability to relate to her college-age daughter.

Before she earned her degree, Kris was in a salary and job rut.

“To advance within my career and earn a higher salary, I realized I needed a degree,” said Kris.

That’s why she was eager to try College for America when Moore Center started offering the school’s accredited degree programs to employees. It wasn’t without reservations, however.

“It was really scary to start at age 48,” she said.

But with tuition of only $2,500 per year, she couldn’t resist giving it a try. During her time at College for America, Kris worked as an employment specialist for adults with developmental disabilities. The combination of employer support and the flexible, self-scheduled program helped Kris not only finish the program but well ahead of the average two-year pace.

Kris says that in addition to increasing her earning potential, the College for America program changed her life in unexpected ways.

“Because the work was online, I learned many technical skills that I had gotten behind on,” explained Kris. “My older daughter is a science major in college and we have been able to have some interesting conversations based on things we have both learned or worked on for school,” she added.

Since completing her degree, Kris has already been promoted. “I was able to apply for and got a job at our main office as an administrative assistant, which required an associate’s degree,” said Kris. “I got a raise and more hours per week, so my income has gone up quite a bit.”

Despite the hard work of getting the degree, Kris has no regrets.

“I know I am capable of learning new things and am more in touch with some technology, so if I want to apply for other jobs in the future, I am more qualified. I am happy to say I finally have a degree!” she exclaimed.